Whenever you buy a used car, even from an auto dealer, you should always look out for signs that it may have been flooded in the past. This is because some people will attempt to sell their flood damaged car after getting it cleaned up because it's difficult to tell at this point whether or not flooding occurred. However, this still means that the car could be completely ruined. The electronics, lubricants, and mechanical systems can all be bad. Here are four steps to check for possible flood damage:
- Inspect the Carpets: The first thing you want to do is inspect the carpets. If there is any kind of stale smell coming from all the carpet, then that's a huge sign of flooding in the past. Be sure to lift any floor mats and smell the carpet underneath it since the mats probably were replaced if the car did flood. If the carpet is entirely new, you might want to inquire as to why that is.
- Look Closely at the Headlights and Taillights: Next you want to check the headlights and taillights. These could show you where the water line was if the car flooded. It's difficult to remove this, which is why it's so important to check for it. You can tell it's there because it will be yellowish in color and make a straight line across the headlights or taillights.
- Look for Rusted Screws: Anywhere there are screws, such as under the seats and the dashboard, you want to check if they are rusted. If so, then chances are the car was flooded since the only way this could happen is by having enough contact with standing water. You also want to check for loose screws around the seats while you're at it, because this could indicate that the seats were removed to be cleaned or replaced, another sign of possible flooding.
- Check the Drain Plugs: Finally, you want to check the drain plugs. If it looks like they have been removed recently, it might have been to drain water from the vehicle. These are under the carpets of the vehicle, so be sure to lift these up even in the trunk.
These four steps should hardly take anytime and could help you avoid a car that probably should've been declared a total loss. Shopping at auto dealerships is a great way to avoid the possibility of buying a flood damaged car since they ensure that all used cars on their lots are gone through serious inspection before purchased and sold.